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Locusts move eastward along wadis as projected

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Yemen
  • August 2013
Locusts move eastward along wadis as projected

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • A few bands and swarms of desert locusts are likely in pastoral and key wadi areas of central and eastern Yemen.

    • Saudi Arabia has recently increased enforcement of regulations regarding undocumented workers, and as many as 300,000 to 500,000 Yemeni migrant workers face deportation. This change may result in remittance losses and increases in labor market supply, particularly in urban areas.

    • Medium-term forecasts for second-season rains suggest average rainfall in the northern half of Yemen and below-average rain in the southern half. This could indicate a second, consecutive poor season in some parts of southwestern Yemen. 

    • In December 2012, more than 40 percent of poor households had poor food consumption in Sana’a and Al-Baidah, despite favorable labor-to-cereal terms of trade.




    Central and eastern wadis

    • Control operations are limited by insecurity. A few small bands and swarms are likely to form, particularly in eastern Al Jawf, Marib, Shabwah, and Hadhramaut, including the Thamaud plateau.



    • Below-average rainfall with some, slight impact on second-season agricultural production.

    Desert locusts continue to breed in central and eastern Yemen. Locust numbers have increased with breeding in June and July Wadi Hadhramout in the eastern part of the summer breeding areas in the interior of the country. Control operations were undermined due to insecurity in the country. Locust numbers will increase and hoppers and small swarms may develop in the summer breeding areas of eastern Yemen in the coming months. The locusts are not expected to spread to the western cropping areas of the country and therefore are not expected to cause damage to second-season crops that are currently underway. However, they could cause localized damage to pasture and, in the wadi areas, some damage to locally-important cash crops which could affect demand for unskilled labor.

    In March, Saudi Arabia began to enforce more strictly documentation requirements for migrant workers’ residency permits. Since then, approximately 200,000 Yemeni migrants have returned to Yemen. The number of Yemenis facing deportation is unknown, but according to OCHA’s Humanitarian Bulletin, the figure could be as high as 300,000 to 500,000 people. This is expected to result in a loss of remittances and increase the supply of labor to the market in the short term; however, most of the migrant laborers are expected to be able to regularize their documentation and return to Saudi Arabia in the medium term.

    Performance of the second-season rains has been normal to above normal in the eastern parts of Yemen with some flash floods in several parts of Yemen in mid-August. Rains, however, have been average to below average in the northwest (Figure 2). Despite some localized areas of below-average vegetation conditions in parts of the western highlands due to poor first-season rains, vegetation conditions are generally close to average and improving. Unfortunately, second-season rains are forecast to be below average along the coast and in the South and East. If the rains perform as forecast, some areas of the southwest may experience a second, consecutive season of below-average crop production.

    According to FEWS NET’s July Price Bulletin based on data from WFP, the price trends of wheat and wheat flour are generally stable on a month-to-month basis with some variations due to seasonal high demand (i.e. high demand during the Ramadan festivities). Daily wage rates for unskilled workers, a key source of income for poor households, have also been relatively stable recently and are similar to levels at this time last year. Given stability of key purchasing power indicators, FEWS NET assumes that there are no major changes to food consumption compared to last year.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    July 12 – August 19, 2013 rainfall total (RFE2 estimates) as percent of 1983-2012 mean (ARC2)

    Figure 2

    July 12 – August 19, 2013 rainfall total (RFE2 estimates) as percent of 1983-2012 mean (ARC2)

    Source: NOAA

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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